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Now is the time to fight menace of drug abuse - Sanwo-Olu's wife

Sanwo-Olu

L-R: Mr. Tola Balogun, Dep. Director, Department of State Services (DSS); Mr. Abubakar Liman Wali, Commander, National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA); Dr. (Mrs.) Claudiana Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, First Lady of Lagos State; Dr. Dokun Adedeji, CEO. Compassionate Care Recovery Initiative (CCRI); and DCP Lateef Ahmed, Dep. Commissioner of Police, CID Panti, during the Stakeholders Meeting on Tackling Drug Abuse in Lagos State, organized by the Office of First Lady, held at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, Alausa, Ikeja, on Thursday, 30th May, 2024.

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Wife of the Lagos State Governor, Dr. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu on Thursday said now is the time to take the bull by the horns and wage war against drug abuse in the State.

Sanwo-Olu spoke at the stakeholders’ meeting towards tackling drug abuse in Lagos held in Alausa, Ikeja.

She lamented that drug abuse is affecting the children, youths, men and women of all ages from across Lagos State, saying that the issue of concern is the alarming rate at which drug abuse had deeply permeated every nook and cranny of the society.

“Whether we want to admit it or not, this menace affects everyone directly or indirectly, as it impacts the security and safety of our state and nation…And this, of course informed our meeting today.

“Sincerely, I believe that when two or more good heads come together to deliberate on critical issues of any sort, positive change is inevitable. Therefore, I am guided by this words of Elon Musk, who said and i quote: “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.”

“Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we have rested on our oars for so long, and now is the time to take the bull by the horns. Now is the time to take decisive action and combine forces with the view to making a positive change in Lagos State and Nigeria as a whole, as far as drug abuse is concerned,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

The First Lady said over time, Lagos State, an expanding metropolitan and economic nerve centre of Nigeria, has experienced enormous increase in its population in terms of both demography and urbanisation.

Sanwo-Olu said the main cause of this rapid growth, over the past six decades, has been rural-urban migration, saying this is one major reasons for the overpopulation of Lagos State.

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“Verified statistics show that South-West Nigeria recorded high usage of drugs than other parts of the country. This was contained in a report by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics and funded by the European Union.

“The report sadly revealed that Lagos, Gombe and Oyo states have the highest rates in the country. Similarly, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), in a recent report, disclosed that 40 per cent of Nigerian youths between 18 and 35 years were deeply involved in the abuse of drugs.

“These statistics are disheartening and show that the problem has reached an epidemic level in our country. For 40% of underaged youths in Nigeria to be engaged in illicit drugs is not only alarming but requires urgent national attention,” she said.

She stated that the reason for the meeting was not just to deliberate on this issue and then go back to status quo, but to individually and collectively tackle it, “contribute our quota so that we can make positive changes and bring the menace to the barest minimum.

“My office is committed to ensuring that the system is challenged, this we do by bringing all relevant stakeholders together, and that is the reason why you’ve been invited here today. Our objective is targeted at ensuring that everyone works tirelessly towards eradicating this virus that has badly eaten deep into every community, street and family.”

Earlier,  the Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Lagos State Command, Abubakar Liman Wali said the percentage of drug abuse in the country right now is alarming,  blaming the menace on lack of support for children,  unemployment, poverty and peer group pressure.

Wali, who called for collaboration from and concerted efforts said the problem would be better tackled through robust engagement with the victim rather than meting out punishment.

 

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